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Ableton Live Video Tutorial: Drum Rack + Impulse = DrumPulse

Posted on: luglio 11, 2011

Feed: Dubspot Blog » Production Tips & Tricks

Click here to view the embedded video.

Facing a Problem

I’d like to tell you a little story. It’s the story of how I built a preset Drum Rack in Ableton Live that I now use on a regular basis, which you can download here.

But first, a preface:

Every time I open up Live I get inspired somehow. It’s just so easy to quickly get ideas from my head to the speakers. However, there are times when I get an idea and get stuck. And why is that? 9 times out of 10 it’s because Ableton Live’s built-in devices limit me. Before I go on, I should say that I don’t use Max for Live yet. More power to those who can make their own devices, but my mind doesn’t work that way. Now you may be wondering why I haven’t bought Max for Live and taken advantage of the plethora of patches out there available for free download, or, even better, made friends with an awesome programmer. My one and only reason is this: I try to face my Live problems head on and be creative within my limitations. It’s a self-imposed challenge and I love it.

And now, for the story: Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, I was building a drum track and decided to use Drum Rack. While programming my beat and tweaking controls I thought, “Man, I wish Simpler had some of those cool random options that Impulse has so I could use them in Drum Rack.” Now, flashing back to the time when Drum Rack came out with Live 7, everyone (myself included) was like, “Yo, forget Impulse! Drum Rack is the stuff!” Then began the war between die-hard Impulse fans and Drum Rack spearheads. But wait! Why should we have to choose? Why is it one or the other? Then I had an idea…

Knowing Your Tools

My problem was simple: I wanted, with one button, to be able to randomize which sample slot of Impulse was played to be able to get a more realistic kick drum pattern. How, with all of the built-in devices that Ableton has provided me, could I make that happen? Since I already did the hard work – becoming familiar with my tools – I began to formulate a solution. Here was my totally geeked-out thinking:

– According to the Live manual, the eight sample slots of Impulse, from left to right, are hard wired to MIDI notes C3, D3, E3, F3, G3, A3, B3, and C4. That’s a C Major Scale! Scale, hmmm.

– Maybe if I put the MIDI effect Scale in front of Impulse, I could force all of the MIDI information into a C Major Scale. Okay, that works, but how do I randomize all of that MIDI information? Random, hmmm.

– I’ll try putting the Random MIDI effect before Scale, crank up the Random parameter amount to 100%, and make sure it’s set to play a Chromatic Scale within one octave, maybe it’ll work. Let’s try hitting C3.

– It worked! Cool. Now, how do I turn this into a drum set? Maybe I’ll drop them in an Instrument Rack and duplicate the chain. Well, I can definitely program a beat and get the sound I want, but wouldn’t it be cooler if I could play these chains like drum pads with my Launchpad or my Maschine? Drum pads, hmmm.

– What if I drop these devices, including Impulse (a drum sampler), into Drum Rack (a drum machine), which has drum pads? Is that allowed? Will I have to later explain my actions in Ableton court? Hey, it works and it’s easy to do.

– I should probably save this as a preset Drum Rack. What do I call it? Impulse… Drum Rack… Pulse… Rack… Im… Drum… Pulse… DrumPulse!

The Moral of the Story

Okay, okay. So it’s not the most invigorating story ever told. Now that maybe be true, but there is a good moral to this story. In the words of Ableton Live wizard, Christopher Willits, “Deep simplicity breeds infinite possibility.” Or in the words of some other genius dude, “K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid.” While I could have bought Max for Live, took the time to wrap my head around it and maybe come up with something close to what I actually wanted, I decided to go with the tools I already had and keep things simple. It’s important to note that what’s straightforward to me might be complicated to someone else, and what’s difficult to me might be brain-dead easy to someone else (like a Max programmer.) But nevertheless, I was faced with a problem and forced myself to be creative within my limitations. And by keeping things simple, using as few stock Live devices as possible, I was able to pave the way from my problem to a solution in a relatively short period of time.

Oh, and one last thing … try not to forget about the little guy. When Drum Rack came out, it was “So long, Impulse!” And now Max for Live exists and it’s like, “You still use the Live devices? Really? No, really?” Impulse is still great – just ask Sebastien Leger who uses it on pretty much every MIDI track in his own projects. Drum Rack is still great – just ask anyone who uses Slice to New MIDI Track for sampling purposes. And while I’m at it, Max for Live is also great – just ask Dubspot Instructor, and my good friend, Dave Linnenbank, creator of Max Fuel, the First for PureMagnetik. I will buy Max for Live (and Max Fuel) eventually, but I’m good with what I got for now and would like to become comfortable with the instruments that I’ve already chosen to use. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and stick with it. Maybe someday I’ll decide to combine all three of them: Impulse + Drum Rack + Max for Live = Max for DrumPulse? It’s probably a good thing that it’s not my job to name presets for Ableton.

Article written by Patrick Cupo, Dubspot’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction.


For more start dates and information about payment plans, please call 212.242.2100 or 1.877.DUBSPOT (1.877.382.7768) or send us a message.


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Click here to view the embedded video.

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4 Risposte to "Ableton Live Video Tutorial: Drum Rack + Impulse = DrumPulse"

[…] See the article here: Ableton Live Video Tutorial: Drum Rack + Impulse = DrumPulse … […]

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